As a child, a significant memory I have was waiting by the doorstep for my dad to arrive home from work. We’d wait all day for it, and you’d know as soon as that door flung open, he’d be met with a huge scream of ‘DAD!’ and me and my sister would be flung up into his big arms embraced with love. The feeling of a loved one coming home is like no other. Now as a young adult as my grown-up siblings and me are here, there and everywhere, so there’s an excitement and longing like no other when we all finally get to gather together to sit around the family dinner table.
In today’s readings, that longing for gathering is expressed. God longs to have his people gathered together to be one family. He longs to guide his people and be their shepherd. To be infinitely intimate with his people. And as we lead up to the events of the Holy Week, the readings make clear to us the purpose of Jesus’s mission and life work: to gather. Jesus is faced with the grim fact that the only way we will ever be truly gathered is if we are convinced of his love shown in the passion of the cross that should have been ours.
As we lead up to Holy Week, lets us pray to feel the longing want of God to be gathered to us. And let us reflect on the times we reject his most everlasting love.
Claire O’Donohue is a current Oxley Passionist Youth Retreat Team member. While also in her final year of university, she is completing her bachelor’s degree with a major in visual art and theology.